A message from Maccabi USA President, Jeff Bukantz
On Sunday evening, dreams came true for 418 Maccabi USA team members as they marched into the Opening Ceremonies for the 14th Pan Am Maccabi Games in Mexico City.
The emotionally uplifting event was held at historic Arena Mexico in front of over 16,500 enthusiastic family members and fans. This was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for the athletes, as they literally walked on air and marched in representing their country, Team Maccabi USA, and ultimately, Jews from the Diaspora.
The Pan Am Maccabi Games will include 2,500 athletes from 20 countries competing in 23 sports. Maccabi USA will have 38 teams competing in 23 sports. The age of our athletes ranges from 13 to 84. Our youngest athlete, junior gymnast Rikki Ashman, and most seasoned, Lazar Lowinger, 84, even share the same birthday of November 7th.
The competition will be hot and heavy, as the Spanish-speaking countries not only look to win medals but take special pride in beating us. However, the beauty of the Pan Am Maccabi Games is the contrast between the hard-fought battles on the playing field and the bonding among the athletes off the playing field. The friendships and memories made in Mexico City will last a lifetime.